Talk:Talmud

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

What is wrong with this addition:[edit]

An alternative view is that lying to gentiles is condoned in the Talmud (Baba Kamma 113a), and that accurate allegations of Talmudic anti-gentilism are dismissed as anti-semitism and ignorance.http://www.revisionisthistory.org/talmudtruth.html The Truth About the Talmud

Mikemikev (talk) 10:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I have attempted to add several examples of racism and advocacy of lying in the Talmud, on the Talmud and Judaism articles, all of which were reverted. Is this website not in fact rational but a cowardly reflection of the propaganda of the neo-con powers that be? Much in the manner of Lysenko. Maybe it's not your fault, maybe you can't distinguish PBS and reality. I also wish to point out that I have no problem with ethnic Jews, just the supremacist and inhumane religion. Thanks. 175.193.212.64 (talk) 05:35, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Is this website not in fact rational - I need a ruling: does this count as a full drink, or can I only a token sip? VOXHUMANA 05:51, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Not everyone here reading this is aware of what you're talking about. A couple quick examples would be useful, at least for me. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 06:01, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
[1] 175.193.212.64 (talk) 06:07, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Ok, we'd have to ask why it was reverted. I'm not familiar with the topic. We'd have to ask Mikemikev, and hopefully try to come to some consensus. I don't see anything outrageous about the edit offhand. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 06:12, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Did you try bringing it to the talk page? That might help to do that first. Supposedly. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 06:12, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I am Mikemikev. Yes, the talk page comment was collapsed and I was called a troll.[2] 175.193.212.64 (talk) 06:37, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Probably by taint - the link was to a known anti-semitism hate site. That doesn't invalidate the comment necessarily - at first glance it actually might have some merit. But linking to a known holocaust denier is a bad decision. For the most part RW is happy to discredit religion, but not to single out one religion as any worse than the others, or to give credibility to holocaust deniers. The fact that you are citing revisionisthistory.org is probably what got you labelled as a troll, which *may* have been unfair. Find a credible source and all will be well. VOXHUMANA 06:51, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Do you not see the irony here? My edit points out that criticism of Judaism is dismissed as "anti-semitism", and you are dismissing my edit and source as "anti-semitic". The source references the Talmud and other books. I will reference the Talmud directly. One must believe precisely that 6000000 Jews were gassed in order to criticise the Talmud? How reasonable! Maybe those dismissed as "anti-semitic" are actually pro-fact. 175.193.212.64 (talk) 07:40, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
This is what I'm getting. We're asking for you to provide a legitimate source. The 6 million Jews thing is a red herring. We don't want to link to anything that wholesale denies the holocaust like that site purportedly does as a source. (Maybe we'll link to such a site to make fun of it, etc.) Find some better more reliable sites, or start presenting some evidence to show that millions of Jews didn't die in camps in WW2. Or make your other point, and don't link to such silly sites as evidence in your favor. -- Yes yes, we shouldn't throw out arguments because the speaker is mistaken on other points. That is a fallacy. But we'd prefer to still not promote such horrible sites. Can you understand and sympathize a little please? EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 08:53, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Echoing what EL said - Your source website IS anti-Semitic. It asserts that Jews are somehow worse than Christians, Muslims or whoever else, based on a clearly non-rational, highly biased evaluation. It also denies the Holocaust, an independently verified historical event. For that reason we can't use it as a source. That is not to say that 100% of its contents are wrong, but it is sufficiently unreliable to be of no practical use to us here. There are definite problems with Jewish theology and tradition, and you are welcome to discuss those. But - as we often point out - there are no substantive aspects of Jewish theology which lack parallels in Christian or Islamic theology. But, if your aim is to prove to us that the Jews are worse than Christians (or whoever else) you will have a LOT of opposition here. VOXHUMANA 09:01, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
(EC)I don't know or care about this genocide denying business. I do think that edit was not good because it is poorly worded, does not flow from the sentence above and is not explained particularly well. This article should be about the Talmud, and should stick to discussing it and its legacy. As it stands the edit in question should be stricken as irrelevant (it may also be wrong). DamoHi 09:05, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Mikemikev is basically here to post racism, so I reverted in toto and figured if anyone sane wanted to readd any of it they could. Evidently not then - David Gerard (talk) 14:05, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
He didn't respond to my paragraph where I bent over backwards to be inviting and cordial, so ... yea I have nothing to add. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 23:50, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Why not criticise the Talmud?[edit]

Sceptics frequently criticise the Torah and Tanach (known to Christians as the "Old Testament") as an immoral work advocating slavery, genocide, religious intolerance and persecution, and capital punishment for petty offences or things that shouldn't be considered offences at all. Why not the same willingness to criticise the Mishnah and Talmud? The suggestion is made that criticising the Mishnah and Talmud is antisemitic - but if that is true, why is not criticising the Torah and Tanach equally so? Something doesn't make sense here. 101.172.170.165 (talk) 10:33, 9 August 2013 (UTC)is

Not at all! the TNK is pretty well read by many of us here, at least as the "Old Testament". but few if any of us have really read the Talmud or Mishnah - making it hard to criticize. If you have and would like to offer up criticism, please do. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 14:46, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that (as our article notes) to those who have not studied it properly, the Talmud is quote-mining gold; Julius Streicher, of Der Stürmer, infamously spent most of his life obsessively mining it for quotes. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 14:56, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I own a copy of the Neusner translation of the Mishnah; I plan to add some quotes from it when I get home. If the Talmud is "quote-mining gold" - why is not the Torah/Tanach equally "quote-mining gold"? To speak of "those who have not studied it properly" seems to be moving in the direction of the courtier's reply - how much must one have studied it before one is justified in criticising it? If the plain meaning of a reputable translation of a religious text appears abhorrent, then I think the burden is on the text's defenders. As to Streicher, he had little regard for truth, and I have no doubt he frequently quoted inaccurately. At the same time, just because a Nazi makes an argument doesn't automatically prove the argument false; a few of his criticisms of Judaism may well have been valid - however, even if Judaism is a flawed religion, he was wrong in thinking it was substantially more flawed than Christianity, and whatever flaws Judaism has do not justify the persecution and murder of its adherents - much less the descendants of its adherents who themselves no longer believe in it. 165.228.229.93 (talk) 12:21, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Courtier's reply is a childish game of people who want to prove how smart they are on their face. There is a reason people are experts. Because they have read alot, studied a lot. I would be offended, if I were a physicist, to have some biologist come and challenge basic tennents of physics, when all he had read was his 2nd year physics text. Same with philosophy, and religion. If you don't understand what you are reading, then saying "oh, it says X" is childish and simplistic. Now, if the person quoting the bible to you is equally uneducated in her bible, then rip her a new one. But saying "you do not need to be skilled in theology to understand that it is bunk" is itself a creation. Theology has levels of expertise, and just saying "i can read my translation and quote mine" gets you no where in a truly critical study. Take for example: is homosexuality a sin according to the Bible. Ray Comfort says the easy answer cause he's never read theolgoy, has no background in languages, and spends no time really studying the various translations: "Of course it is!". Expert after expert from within and without the religion say - eh, not quite so simple. "not making babies" is a sin. "sleeping with a male prostitute" is a sin. "choosing a husband instead of a wife" is a sin. but just being gay, and on your own time having gay sex, maybe (probably) not. But you have to understand not just the single bible in it's english translation, but Hebrew, the culture of 4200-2000 years ago, the babolonian texts the bible is largely based on, other religions and religious practices of the areas, laws as they were defined both in the ancience Hebrew culture and in the surrounding areas, etc. So feel free to criticize whatever you want, when ever you want. it is always your right. but realize, if all you've done is read one english translation of one book, odds are you are being that biologist who is trying to critize high end physics.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 17:21, 10 August 2013 (UTC)


Some criticism of theology is based on ignorance but not all. There are believers who try and tell us we can't criticise religious belief unless we immerse ourselves in a lifetime of theology first. That isn't reasonable.

The bulk of theology is irrelevant to whether or not God exists. So atheists do not need to waste an entire lifetime reading irrelevant theology simply to find the relatively few arguments dealing with whether God exists or not. Further Duncan claims Christian apologists who use the Courtier's Reply do not themselves know arguments proving the existence of God and themselves know at most a small part of theology. If Christian apologists could prove the existence of God Duncan argues they would do so instead of making complaints about what atheists do not know.
If there were, somewhere in that vast time sink called theology, a truly objective and undeniable proof for the existence of God, then the Courtier himself ought to know it, and ought to cut straight to the part where he shares that important knowledge with his lost brother. (...) The Courtier’s Reply is simply a smoke screen, an attempt to hide behind an overwhelming and impenetrable wall of irrelevant speculation and superstition.
[1]

The whole of theology is so vast that knowing more than a small part is not humanly possible. Duncan argues Christians demand superhuman standards from atheists, then resort to Ad hominem attacks because atheists do not reach those superhuman standards. [1] Chris Hallquist claims reading and understanding theology can be unecessarily difficult because many theologians deliberately write in obscure ways.

I refuse to apologize for not having read more theology, in the sense of the writings of people like Haught and the people he admires. That’s because they frequently don’t even try to write clearly. My typical experience when picking up their books is to first notice they are using words in ways I am not used to. Then I start skimming to try to find the section where they explain what they mean by their words (sometimes there are legitimate reasons for using words in unusual ways). Then I end up closing the book when I fail to find such a section.
—Chris Hallquist [2]

The Courtier's Reply can be extended to defending other atheist thinkers as well as Dawkins.

You don't need to read up vast amounts of theology to see believing in God isn't reasonable, you just need to remember you don't believe in Zeus, Thor, or other Mythological ideas and tell yourself believing the Bible makes just as little sense. The Courtier's Reply

  1. 1.0 1.1 Defending the Courtiers at Intellectual Conservative
  2. Unintelligible theology
Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:44, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Except, once again, you prove my point. anyone who thinks "theology" is about proving god, does not understand theogoly. There are theological arguments that attempt to prove god - in my mind, all fail. But theology is the study of God's word, God's motive, God's wishes **assuming god exists**. Courtier's argument ONLY WORKS if the topic is "does god exist", or if you say to a theologian "prove god", and they say something silly like "all things are made, therefor...". Courtier's argument does not apply to theology, when it is the NATURE OF GOD that you are studing. Theologians largely do not care if they can prove god. they do not need or want to prove god. they "know" god. The same way I do not need to prove i love my husband, i "know" it. Nor do i need to "prove" that a waterfal is beautiful. that is not a relm (I think) for proof. And, a theologian would tell you, neither is god. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 22:32, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Except, once again believers do sometimes try to use theology to prove God's existence. Then when we disagree they say we don't understand what we're talking about. The Courtier's Reply works against that.

The Courtier's Reply is a reasonable analogy in cases when debaters present material that is irrelevant to the subject under debate, for example.

What, one wonders, are Dawkins’s views on the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus? Has he read Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope? Has he even heard of them? Or does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case?
Terry Eagleton [1]

Supporters of Dawkins and Myers maintain the above is beside the point when the existence or otherwise of God is discussed.

Eagleton misses the point. If a creator god doesn’t exist, it doesn’t matter whether the imaginary god’s grace is best described by Rahner or someone else. Besides, the millions of believers to which Dawkins writes have never heard of Rahner, either. Christianity as practiced by billions of people is not the Christianity of the academic theologians.
—Luke Muehlhauser, director of the Singularity Institute[2]

Similarly "detailed discourses (...) on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor’s boots, (...), the Luminescence of the Emperor’s Feathered Hat. " and other examples that Myers gives are irrelevant when the emperor's nudity is plainly observed. The Courtier's Reply

  1. Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching
  2. The Courtier’s Reply, the Not My Theology Reply, and Straw Men
Proxima Centauri (talk) 01:03, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Who's this "we" to whom you refer? PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 01:10, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
We refers to atheists and freethinkers, those who don't believe in God. Proxima Centauri (talk) 01:16, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Except not all athiests or free thinkers spend our time trying to discount what "believers" think, cause it's their belief, not ours. please do not speak for me as an atheist and free thinker, thanks.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 01:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
(ec)I want to know something, Proxie. Can you write any of your opinions in your own words rather than in out-of-context snippets from blogs? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:15, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
all ec=vidence points to "no". Intellectually, Proxie is the atheist version of User: Conservative. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 01:24, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Here's the thing about the Talmud, BoN. This is actually one of the very few cases where the courtier's reply actually applies, since it's essentially an encyclopedia of Biblical criticism from the early days of rabbinic Judaism, and therefore it's hard to criticize it as a whole because there are so many debates with dissenting opinions in there. For any given point you might wish to take issue with, there very well might be a commentary somewhere else, maybe in a different volume, maybe the next paragraph over that agrees with you; it's very much like trying to puzzle out common law court decisions, as a matter of fact, but there's no equivalent of Restatements. Unlike the Bible, whose many editors attempted (and arguably failed) to present as a unified document, the Talmud is no such thing, and has never claimed to be. To productively criticize it, you have to make a point about the underlying structure of the debates that it's constructed of, because taking issue with any one part is simply an extreme case of missing the forest for the trees. Now, if you're going to argue about one particular point or pattern of points in it, that's completely different; there's even jokes about that kind of debate (look up the one about whether a peacock is kosher). But criticizing the Talmud as a whole is sort of pointless, because it doesn't add anything you haven't already covered by criticizing the Bible. EVDebs (talk) 23:50, 10 August 2013 (UTC)